\ ˈkrān How to pronounce crane (audio) \

Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : any of a family (Gruidae of the order Gruiformes) of tall wading birds superficially resembling the herons but structurally more nearly related to the rails
2 : any of several herons
3 : an often horizontal projection swinging about a vertical axis: such as
a : a machine for raising, shifting, and lowering heavy weights by means of a projecting swinging arm or with the hoisting apparatus supported on an overhead track
b : an iron arm in a fireplace for supporting kettles
c : a boom for holding a motion-picture or television camera


craned; craning

Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to raise or lift by or as if by a crane
2 : to stretch toward an object of attention craning her neck to get a better view

intransitive verb

1 : to stretch one's neck toward an object of attention I craned out of the window of my compartment— Webb Waldron
2 : hesitate


biographical name (1)
\ ˈkrān How to pronounce Crane (audio) \

Definition of Crane (Entry 3 of 5)

(Harold) Hart 1899–1932 American poet


biographical name (2)

Definition of Crane (Entry 4 of 5)

Stephen 1871–1900 American writer


biographical name (3)

Definition of Crane (Entry 5 of 5)

Walter 1845–1915 English artist

Illustration of crane

Illustration of crane


crane 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for crane

Synonyms: Verb

boost, elevate, heave, heft, heighten, hike, hoist, jack (up), lift, perk (up), pick up, raise, take up, up, uphold, uplift, upraise

Antonyms: Verb

drop, lower

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Examples of crane in a Sentence


We craned our necks toward the stage. craned her head to see the roof

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Despite being common in the wilderness, habitat and wetland loss caused the cranes to become endangered. Levi Edwards, al, "Alabama sandhill crane hunting: Why now? How does it taste?," 13 Aug. 2019 As the ship crane lowers black Zodiacs into the swell, the crew of the Resolute gives us our snorkel briefing: Here’s how to use your snorkel. Rowan Jacobsen, Outside Online, "An Ocean Plastics Field Trip for Corporate Executives," 8 Aug. 2019 The crane toppled during a fierce windstorm, killing 29-year-old Kiersten Smith. Jennifer Emily, Dallas News, "8-week process begins to remove crane from Dallas apartments where woman died," 7 Aug. 2019 Also known as Sky Maverick, the air crane has been dispatched more than 170 times in its time in the San Diego area, dropping more than one million gallons of water. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ahead of peak wildfire season, SDG&E and local officials ramp up safety efforts," 7 Aug. 2019 Complicating matters was the coordination of the crane and other heavy machinery required to relocate huge boulders and trees. Emily Young, Los Angeles Times, "Beloved Japanese garden reopens at Lotusland in Montecito — but good luck getting in," 26 July 2019 The stones were added to the new memorial area by a crane with the help of a team of men placing the stones and their foundations. Linda Gandee/special To,, "Avon receives 2,000-pound stones for Veterans Memorial," 8 July 2019 In an interview with The Associated Press, Ridenhour offered details from inside the building where a construction crane, buffeted in a June 9 storm, came crashing down, killing his 29-year-old fiancee and injuring several others. Washington Post, "Fiance of woman killed when Dallas crane fell recalls chaos," 20 June 2019 Kiersten Symone Smith, 29, was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiners' office, after the construction crane smashed into a five-story building near downtown. Fox News, "Dallas crane collapse victim identified as 29-year-old woman," 9 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mayor London Breed, Assemblyman David Chiu and Warriors President Rick Welts cut the platform ribbon shortly before noon, as riders on a passing T-Third train craned their necks to watch. Rachel Swan,, "Muni prepares for big crowds with expanded platform near Chase Center," 6 Aug. 2019 Balaji craned his neck up to see the clerk, who held the book in one hand with ease. Abhijith Ravinutala,, "2019 Algren Awards: Finalist: Definition(s)," 20 July 2019 With league executives and coaches relegated to standing room only, everyone craned to see what the Duke star and No. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Zion Williamson makes thrilling Summer League debut before earthquake hits. Michael Porter Jr. can only watch.," 5 July 2019 That didn’t stop people from paying to crane their necks to witness the performers drive tiny carriages, jump through tiny hoops and walk a tiny tightrope. Belinda Lanks, WSJ, "‘In Miniature’ Review: Let’s Get Small," 7 June 2019 The words stopped and Andrew Struck and I craned our necks to watch the aerial display. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Our national symbol is a soaring conservation success story," 3 July 2019 But on Saturday, there was no need for Leary or his boys to crane their necks or squint their eyes. Talia Richman,, "'Look how close he is!' Maryland Zoo celebrates opening of revamped African Journey exhibits," 22 June 2019 The boys shone a flashlight on cave walls to find where water was dripping, then took turns collecting it in their hands or craning their necks to drink. Warangkana Chomchuen, WSJ, "Thai Boys Moved From Dark to Light, Physically and Mentally, After Being Trapped in Cave," 18 July 2018 Trumpeter Rex Stewart is the only musician with his instrument tucked under his arm, and Gerry Mulligan craned his neck to be seen. Marc Myers, WSJ, "A Great Day in Harlem, Revisited," 2 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crane


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1570, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for crane


Middle English cran, from Old English; akin to Old High German krano crane, Greek geranos, Latin grus

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Dictionary Entries near crane







crane fly

Statistics for crane

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crane

The first known use of crane was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for crane



English Language Learners Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a big machine with a long arm that is used by builders for lifting and moving heavy things
: a type of tall bird that has a long neck and long legs and lives near water



English Language Learners Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch out (your neck) in order to see better


\ ˈkrān How to pronounce crane (audio) \

Kids Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large tall wading bird with a long neck, bill, and legs
2 : a machine with a swinging arm for lifting and carrying heavy weights


craned; craning

Kids Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch the neck to see better Neighbors craned out the window to see the parade.

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More from Merriam-Webster on crane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crane

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crane

Spanish Central: Translation of crane

Nglish: Translation of crane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crane for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crane

Comments on crane

What made you want to look up crane? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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